10 More ways you may be eligible for unclaimed money – and where to start looking.

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Does someone owe you money but you don’t even know about it? In part one of this blog, we talked about the enormous sums that go unclaimed by consumers every year.

According to the National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators (NAUPA) there are $32.9 billion in assets sitting unclaimed in state treasuries and other agencies right now. That number is just a slice of the total pie, as the state of New York holds $13 billion in unclaimed funds by itself, and California and Texas add another $14 billion to the pot. Local governments recently collected $23 billion in unclaimed money but only $1 billion was ever claimed. The U.S. federal government is sitting on $17 billion in savings bonds alone, and literally hundreds of billions of dollars in “forgotten” money held by the IRS, social security, and other agencies.

Here are ten more entities that may owe you money, and a few links and resources that will help you start looking.

1. Unpaid wages
Huge sums go unclaimed by individuals who are owed money by their former employers, especially when someone is terminated. The U.S. Department of Labor as a Wage and Hour Division (WHD) database that will tell you if an employer owes you some back pay.

2.Stocks
The Securities and Exchange Commission reports that each year, 3 million stockholders fail to claim about $500 million in stock dividends and bond interest. Add that all up and the mounting total now equals about $10 billion in unclaimed stocks just waiting for the rightful recipients to claim it.

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) lists enforcement cases where a company or person owes investors money.

3.Employer retirement or pension benefits
Each year, $133 million in pension benefits go unclaimed by about 32,000 workers who are eligible but do not collect. Individual employees pay into pension and employer retirement plans, yet some times, these plans fail, go bankrupt, or recipients can’t be located after a job change or change of address. If that’s the case, you may think you lost your contributions but in fact, they are still due to you! Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation insures pensions benefits, so there may be funds waiting for you to collect.

4.Foreign claims
U.S citizens may be owed funds from foreign governments for loss of property, class action lawsuits, or other obscure financial measures. There may be royalties or residual funds due to you without your knowledge.

5.Product class action lawsuits
Hundreds of companies are hit with class action litigation every year, yet less than half of the people who are entitled to a slice of that pie ever file a claim. Whether the lawsuits are from defective household products, failed banks, financial investment improprieties, or a litany of other infractions, there may be money for a class action suit waiting for you.

6. Mortgage and real estate settlements
After the mortgage meltdown and subsequent financial and banking crash, there were dozens of banks and mortgage companies that were ordered by the courts to make restitution against homeowners and borrowers for robo-signing, failure to disclose terms, and other wrong doings. However, many people aren’t even aware of these settlements because of frequently changing addresses or other reasons. There are also escrow accounts that may have rebate checks or sums to reconcile with you from past real estate and mortgage transactions.

7.Treasury savings bonds
Believe it or not, there are now about $17 billion in US Savings Bonds that have matured and stopped paying interest. Additionally, each year, 25,000 bond payouts are returned in the mail as undeliverable. Of course the US Treasury puts no time or effort into locating the bond holders if payments go unclaimed or matured bonds are stagnant, as many owners have moved, passed away, or simply forgotten about their investments, but their families and descendants may be eligible to claim them.

8.Life insurance payouts
Someone may have named you as a beneficiary on a life insurance policy before they passed away, even if you don’t know about it. For instance, Prudential – one of the biggest insurance companies in the U.S. – reported that they couldn’t locate more than a million of its policyholders. The rules and regulations for payouts could be complex, so it’s best to run a search proactively.

9.Funds from inheritance
When loved ones pass away, money, property, and assets intended to go to their heirs often go unclaimed. Most states keep their own records of estates, but even an alternate spelling of a name or an incorrect address can throw off the process of doling out funds to the rightful beneficiaries.

10. IRA accounts
At least 50 million Americans have invested in IRAs – Individual Retirement Accounts. If IRAs are not withdrawn by age 70 ½, or in some cases 59 ½, they may be classified as unclaimed or abandoned. Additionally, each year, about $850 million in 401 (k) retirement plans and IRAs go unclaimed, due to companies that have gone bankrupt or closed down, or go unclaimed.

Where to look:
Here are just a few places to start your search for unclaimed assets.

When you start your search, organize your list of old account numbers, employers, addresses, and investment, stock, and pension accounts. Try different spellings and common variations of your name and enter old addresses to make sure you aren’t missing anything.

Note: we have no affiliation with these companies or organizations and cannot vouch for their efficacy.

www.missing money.com

www.unclaimed.org,

http://www.nationalmortgagesettlement.com
http://portal.hud.gov/hudportal/HUD?src=/mortgageservicingsettlement
https://oag.ca.gov/mortgagesettlement

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)

The U.S. Department of Labor as a Wage and Hour Division (WHD) database

The National Registry of Unclaimed Retirement Benefits

http://www.inheritancesearch.com

The IRS has a Where’s My Refund? Page on their website, or call the agency’s toll-free refund hotline (800-829-1954

Missingmoney, a NAUPA-endorsed Web site

HUD database

Warning:
Some websites will allow you to search for unclaimed funds for free, and there are plenty of legitimate services and even law firms that will help you search for a fee. But unfortunately, there are also plenty of unclaimed money “bounty hunters” that take advantage of a consumer’s enthusiasm, or out right scam them. Avoid those firms that have high finder’s fee’s – up to 50% – or up front costs and thoroughly research a company or service before you hand over any sensitive financial data like social security numbers, account information, or the like. If you think something is out of place or you suspect a scam, report it to the Federal Trade Commission.

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